Since 1929, Rotary International has been sending young people around the globe to experience new cultures. The Short-Term Exchange Program (STEP) is an exchange program where a family in another country will hosts a student for a few weeks or up to 3 months. STEP provides an opportunity for students to have an experience in different countries, culture and environment. It offers the ability to build life long friendships, world awareness, knowledge and confidence. The District committee will endeavor to meet wishes of applicants by sending them to a country of preference. However, this depends on availability of exchange countries at the time of application and placement. At this present time, Rotary District 9630 Youth Exchange committee provide short term exchanges with New Zealand, USA, Canada and France.
Who Is Eligible:
- Students must have completed years 10, 11 or 12 and be aged less than 18 years when they leave Australia.
- Students usually depart in late November or early December following year 10, 11 or 12. The duration of the exchange is to be negotiated with the parents of the overseas host family.
- As part of the short term student arrangement, Australian families who send a student overseas must be prepared to reciprocate and host a student from the overseas family.
- Short term students do not have to go to school overseas, however because students in many countries will still be at school between November and January, short term students from Australia do often spend some of their time at school.
- Applicants must have above average academic ability and must have an outgoing and pleasant personality to fit them for the role as an Ambassador for Australia. They must have the ability to accept discipline and be capable of adjusting to new and different conditions.
- Applicants must be of good character and reputation.
- Sons and daughters of Rotarians are eligible for Youth Exchange, but receive no special preference in selection. All applicants are selected solely on merit.
- Students must hold a current Australian passport on departure.
- Students are required to obey the laws of the host country at all times and accept the discipline of the host school and the host parents. Students are required to adapt to the home environment of the host family – the host family is under no obligation to adapt themselves to the students.
- Parents are required to provide the cost of transporting the student to and from the host country. This cost varies and depends on the final destination of the student. The parents arrange student’s travel.
- An approved comprehensive Travel Insurance Policy, which covers the students for the duration of their exchange, is provided as part of the overall fee charged by Rotary.
- Parents will provide for day-to-day personal living expenses including clothing, telephone, postage, and travel on organized tours etc. for the student while abroad.
- The overseas family provides board and lodging for the duration of the student’s exchange.
Rotary Youth Exchange Program Timetable:
- Applications for an exchange must be lodged in writing using the Initial Application Form on the Prospective Students page to the chairman of Youth Exchange Program.
- Applications should also be lodged with the Rotary Club or clubs generally in the area in which the student resides or attends school before MARCH 31st in the year prior to departure.
- A local committee appointed by the Rotary Club may interview students and their parents during APRIL and will select a suitable student/s for consideration by the District Youth Exchange Committee no later than APRIL 21st.
- The final application for successful students must be completed and forwarded to the District Youth Exchange Committee for consideration by end of April.
- Early May the District Youth Exchange Committee will assess and interview all applicants selected by individual Rotary Clubs within the District. A final endorsement of students to be sent abroad will then be made, subject to the District Youth Exchange Committee being able to obtain a suitable family overseas.
- The District Youth Exchange Committee will conduct several briefing sessions for parents and students during the time leading up to the student’s departure.
- No student is regarded as an Exchange Student until officially accepted by a Rotary club and family overseas.
- N.B. The STEP timeline is shorter with application preparation and interviews to allow time for overseas countries to process applications.